Jason Upton: 'Beautiful People,' 'Between Earth and Sky'
By Jennifer E. Jones
Some worship music is just a joyful noise, and then, some worship is a vehicle to drive deep into the heart of God. If there is one artist who truly takes that wheel, it’s Jason Upton.
From humble gatherings at his house to his own Key of David Ministries, Upton has made Christian music that steps out of the bounds of radio and into the heavenlies. He is wildly passionate about the Gospel and lets every unpolished note reflect that.
Mixing prophecy and ministry and all the while completely unconcerned with popularity, he has a truly devoted audience. There is no casual Upton fan. His music either leaves you confused or on your face worshipping God.
So this May, the worshippers can rejoice as Key of David Ministries releases not one, but two new live projects. Between Earth and Sky dropped on May 1 as a CD/DVD featuring performances from Life Center International in Harrisburg, PA, and Morningstar Christian Fellowship in Fort Mill, SC. In a similar vein, Beautiful People was recorded in Charlotte, NC, and releases May 29th.
The CDs share a couple of songs (“In Your Presence” and “Into the Sky”), and Between Earth and Sky also offers varied versions of “Emma” and “Lion of Judah”. Otherwise, both albums have new music to sink into.
Between Earth and Sky shows the fervor at which Upton pursues God. With his band of ragamuffins, he calls to remembrance the late Keith Green as he pounds on his piano and challenges the church. The highlight of the entire album is the three-song medley of “Emma’s Song”, “Spirit of Adoption” and “Beyond the Window”. Within this river of prophetic worship, he repeats the chorus: “Breaking off rejection / Spirit of adoption / You’re not alone” until it dwells in the listener's soul.
While Between Earth and Sky takes full advantage of the live setting and lets Upton explore his spiritual surroundings, Beautiful People is more like an arrow pointed directly at God. He also gives the listener more variety in his songwriting. His melodies bounce and roll enough to a funky rhythm on “All Things Are Possible” that it’s a potenial radio hit. Yet, Upton still lingers musically when the Spirit leads him to. You hear it especially on the eight-minute track “I Will Never Leave You Children”. The piano and flute play together almost mirroring an intimate dance with the Father.
“Into the Sky” is good on Beautiful People; however, you get the touching background story on Between Earth and Sky. Upton tells the colorful tale of how his son, three-year-old Samuel, wanted to write a song about Jesus. With childlike faith-filled lyrics as “Hey Jesus / Are You on the cross / Or are You feeling better”, you can’t help but fall in love with this song.
Upton always ventures off the beaten path of what Christian music is supposed to do, and his new releases are no exception. The resounding message of these two masterpieces are at the core of his mission as a musician: As long as there is a God in Heaven who adores you, you are not alone. So rise up and be the warriors of Christ He has created you to be.
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